We covered a couple of thousand miles and 6 countries in 10 days - pretty hectic - as well as visiting Europe's largest all-wheel-drive and adventure travel show and meeting up with two of our RV.NET colleagues.
It'll probably take me a few days to post all the pictures - so stay tuned - I'll post a day at a time.
The camper is all packed - I don't need 2 spare tyres or loads of spare parts for this European trip, but I want them in the truck to check out how it handles with this extra equipment loaded in it:
Off to the channel and our first border:
This time we are taking the channel tunnel instead of a ferry - just 35 minutes to cross. The trains can take cars on two levels, or campers, coaches and big rigs on a single level - this loading gap in the train is covered with a sliding cover when travelling to stop people falling out:
Inside the train:
Behind you can see the fire doors that separate each carriage - the doors either side swing inwards, then a roller door slides down between them:
Once on the other side we were straight onto the French autoroutes heading north east. Within no time we were in Belgium. A slight detour onto old cobbled Belgium back roads for lunch:
After lunch we headed all the way across Belgium, passing Antwerp. The road towards Germany is really bumpy where the sections of concrete have been poured - we suffered a bit of porpoising on those roads. As soon as we hit the Dutch border they changed completely - you can see the difference here:
After a short chunk of Holland we crossed the German border and the Rhine:
This was all a bit of a rush, but we were determined to get to Flaxi's place at a reasonable time Friday night. Felix had not only kindly offered us a spot on the private camp ground he has at the bottom of his garden, but had even been onto the German truck camper forum and organised an impromptu meet up that night - and provided the food via his famous 'smoker'. From left to right (apologies if I got the name wrong) Felix, Joerg (not to be confused with our Joerg), Andy (that is Andy's dog behind Felix), Mark (who runs the above forum) and myself:
Sally said "you look tiny next to them!" - she's right, though I am 5'10", maybe I need more of the excellent meat Felix cooked - it must be the high protein diets
Sorry Silversand - this is the best I could do in the way of a group picture of campers - Felix's camper, Mark's Tischer and my Shadow Cruiser; Andy's camper is behind the trees further up the hill:
After dinner came the important job of comparing campers:
Mark demonstrated the flexible mounting solar panel:
A very nice piece of German engineering - rubber suspension points with stainless steel mountings onto which the solar panel clicks neatly, held in place with spring clips:
Inside the Tischer:
Andy's F250 and Canadian camper - they only picked this up recently, hence the ratchet strap tie-downs. They are probably in Sweden with it now. The F250 is gasoline and has 3 times the fuel consumption of my truck and camper combination, but it has been converted to run on LPG which is about half the price, which makes it a lot more reasonable given the fuel prices in Europe (about $1.77 per litre for diesel).
Many thanks to Felix for great hospitality and cooking. Sorry we couldn't stay up later - we were pretty exhausted after the 12 hour drive.
Stay tuned as we cross Germany...
* This post was
edited 06/16/12 01:41am by sabconsulting *
'07 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab diesel + '91 Shadow Cruiser - Sky Cruiser 1
'92 Suzuki Samurai 4x4 1.6
'09 Fiat Panda 1.2
'10 Citroen DS3 1.6 turbo
Very cool.... Nice to see our friends across the water like to party with their TCs too. I appreciate the look inside the Tischer. Given fuel costs, road gauges, and vehicle options it's easy to see why the sensibilities are between European and American tastes are so different.
I'm curious - you took a train through the "chunnel" - is there not a highway as well, or am I mistaken?
I'm also glad you got to visit with Felix. I hope he and his family are doing well. I'm looking forward to more of your continental cruise.
...I'm curious - you took a train through the "chunnel" - is there not a highway as well, or am I mistaken?
When the channel tunnel was designed they went through several proposals, including a combination of road tunnels and bridges. In the end they went for a rail only solution, but with special trains you could load cars and trucks onto.
We had a nice lie-in in the morning in Felix' camp ground, leaving the Dortmund area around 10:00 heading east.
Sally knows by now to expect to be dragged around industrial, military and architectural sites around the world, and this trip wasn't going to be any exception. Just down the road I found a very nice dam to visit:
This may not have the impressive size of the Hoover dam, but the Mohne dam is one of the nicest I've seen with its towers and stone work - the spillways are also over the top of the main body of the dam rather than either side. It is also of technical interest due to the inventions of Barnes Wallis used to breach the dam.
This is a popular destination, with boat trips available on the Mohnesee.
From there we headed further east, through pretty German villages:
Having grown up with the iron curtain and the threat of soviet invasion I was keen to visit the former Eastern Germany (the rather inappropriately named German Democratic Republic). We all remember the amazing scenes when the Berlin Wall came down - we watched it on TV, but some friends plucked up the courage and cash to go out there and witness the scenes for themselves.
Here is a restored guard post:
You just have to imagine the guard dogs and search lights:
The museum also showed examples of trip-wires that operated fragmentation mines - setting one off would probably lose you a leg. Here I am contemplating the instructions to US soldiers:
They also had plenty of nasty looking Russian-built equipment on display:
An everyday symbol of Eastern Germany - the underpowered and poluting Trabant - you do still see a few of them around Germany:
The autobahns are a lot quieter on this side of Germany - but when you do get traffic, it is taking full advantage of the lack of speed limits on major sections of these roads - It is a real shock when you are doing 60mph and someone passes you going 80mph faster! You don't hear them approaching, there is almost a sonic boom as they fly past rocking the camper in their backwash.
Very nice trip reporting Steve.
It must be a bit of an experience to ride the Chunnel.
Did not read if you mentioned how your truck drives with all your stuff behind the seats. I imagine you don't feel it much.
Keep enjoying yourself and I'll be looking for your next update.